Monday, June 24, 2013

Mini Pork Pie and Roses

Protected with clingfilm and with
the reed sitting in the valley
I'm really pleased with myself for having finally got the hang of this hat block! It was given to me by some of my lovely friends for a 30th birthday present, so finally managing to get to use it properly is wonderful. As you can see from the pic, its got a miniature pork pie rim at the top-just like the ones you get on pork pie hats as worn by, Buster Keaton (probably its most famous exponent), most of the band Madness and perhaps my favorite, Yogi Bear.  Its called a pork pie, because fairly obviously the ridge around the top of the crown looks like the one on the top of a pork pie.  The problem is when you pull a felt hood over a hat block it does not naturally conform to the valley round the top. I tried this block before, and well... it wasn't pretty, it was rather lumpy and it quickly got re-blocked into something else and the scary block went to the back of the cupboard!  However, I had read one way of blocking a neat pork pie was to use blocking reed. This is a thin piece of willow that when steamed or soaked becomes all bendy and soft, so it can be pinned into the valley to keep the felt in place without having to use every pin you own and still not get a neat job... However, blocking reed is not something that you find at your average craft shop... but finally I found a supply on line (Go to and it's under millinery materials.  This is a great website for millinery materials). So having got some, I combined it with my marvelous pin pusher tool (that helps you to push pins accurately into the block when you don't have particularly strong hands), to finally get a nice smooth pork pie ridge - dead chuffed!
Starting to pin the reed into the valley
Steaming the felt to get the last of the wrinkles out.
The blocked felt removed from the block, the bottom part gets folded under to make a neat edge.
The completed felt hat on my dolly head.
I really like this small perching block it has a rather lovely 1940's feel, with its small size and pork pie detail. It is also incredibly versatile; you can wear it at so many different angles, as you can see below.
Just three options!
I wasn't quite sure how to decorate the hat as it is such a dark green (it was called moss green no the website, but dark sludge might have been a better description!)  In the end I went back to one of my favorite decorations-folded ribbon roses.  They fit so nicely into the valley that I just had to use them.  The photos are not great unfortunately as its only my iPhone... but I am planning on kidnapping one of my friends who is a photographer and having some fun taking proper pictures!
The finished hat
Side view

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